Monday, April 30, 2012

Acapulco Spring Break

I decided to go for a salad for lunch today and ventured over to Just Salad on the earlier side (for me). Clearly I misestimated how crowded it would be at 12:15 and the line snaked around and went out the door. The good thing was that I got to listen to people's orders whenever I was near the ordering point of the line. Since I had decided that I wanted to try a new salad combination today, this worked out well. In the orders I heard, there were 5 orders of the Acapulco Spring Break (one of the spring seasonal salads) and one DIY salad. I had thought the Acapulco salad sounded interesting when I first read the combination (and it's a pretty good deal at $8.99 when the protein is shrimp and it includes avocado), so if that many people were ordering it, it couldn't be bad, right?

Not as full as some other salads I've gotten at JS, but still good

The Acapulco Spring Break salad comes with romaine lettuce, steamed shrimp (too crowded to see the bowl closely to see how many but I think there were 4), avocado, black beans & corn, cilantro, fresh jalapenos (although I'm pretty sure I didn't taste or see any jalapenos in my salad), tomatoes and tortilla strips (I got it without that). I swapped out the tortilla strips for chickpeas, and because I went with my reusable bowl, I got two extra ingredients and picked red onions and lentils.

This was a really good salad. I don't think it needs to be shrimp and would work really well with any other protein. I kind of wish mine did have jalapenos (I guess they just forgot) so I could see what it tasted like with it, as I think it would really change the flavor combination. But this might be my current favorite for cheese-less salads at JS and it's a really good price considering what's in it. I would definitely try this again, although maybe I will try to go at an off-peak time so it's less chaotic and I can make sure they include the jalapenos!

April Custard Recaps

Another month of Shake Shack custards done.  We have now tried and blogged about everything offered for April except for the Sunday custard, strawberry blonde.  Today was the last Sunday of the month but between being full and pushing hard to finish our moving, we didn't have time to make it to Shake Shack to try it.  I had planned on going to pick up a "victory custard" if we finished moving before midnight but we didn't finish until 12:30 am.  Looking at my personal google results, it does look like we tried this last year in May but by the time I uploaded those photos I couldn't remember if we liked it or not.  If the pattern holds, it will show up again sometime (I hope).

If you missed one of the April custard reviews, here they are:

Monday - orange rhubarb meringue
Tuesday - honey roasted peanut
Wednesday - malted marshmallow milk chocolate
Thursday - fromage blanc raspberry swirl
Friday - red velvet (from January)
Saturday - boston cream pie

If I could only pick one custard from the bunch to have again, I think I would pick boston cream pie.  A would pick fromage blanc raspberry swirl.  Lucky for us these have come up before and hopefully will come up in the rotation again!

Next time strawberry blonde comes around, we will do our best to try it and write about it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

We picked up Shake Shack's Saturday custard - Boston cream pie - at the Upper West Side Shake Shack since we found ourselves at the museum today.  We were excited to see how the Shake Shack rendition would taste (since we couldn't remember if we tried this before or just always meant to).

No circle sign for flavor of the day. They do have them on the UWS but they are next to the regular food line and therefore hard to photograph.

M's thoughts:
I don't really have much experience with Boston cream pie (or Boston cream donuts) since I was never really that into cream/custard filling. Not surprising that I had no expectations for this custard.  I thought maybe it would just taste like chocolate but, while chocolate was a dominant flavor, it did seem like something else was mixed in.  In the end, I decided it tasted to me like a glazed donut with chocolate icing (but not quite as sweet as a donut).  Maybe it didn't exactly fit the Boston cream pie description but I did enjoy the custard.

A's thoughts:
Boston cream pie donuts are one of my favorites, and this was one that I was a little worried about. I have a very high standard when something comes with the name Boston cream pie attached to it. In the end I was not impressed. Sure it had chocolate flavoring, and it had a pretty good cake/donut hint to it, but it missed the thing that I really love the most: the pudding-like custard filling. Yes, I understand that it's a frozen custard treat, but I just needed that creamy, sweet custard. It was a decent Shake Shack flavor overall, but it just wasn't a Boston cream pie.

Boston cream pie
A's rating: 6/10
M's rating: 8/10

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crepes Truck

I'm not an expert on crepes but I thought the crepe I had from the Crepes Truck yesterday for lunch was fantastic.

I was wandering around midtown looking for something to eat for lunch and I stumbled upon the Crepes Truck.  I had seen them on and off in midtown before but had never tried it.  I didn't even realize it was them at first because the truck was pink and orange and not the colors of the French flag.  (I learned from facebook later that this was a recent development.)  The chalkboard menu caught my attention and I stopped to see what they had to offer.

I decided to go with the Iberian crepe, the first one on the list.  After I read the description of the buckwheat crepe with chorizo, parmesan, spinach, ricotta and shallots, I couldn't get chorizo out of my head, and the choice was clear.

On a plate, the crepe would have looked substantially larger than it did folded up into a triangle shape in the container.  I peeked inside from one of the ends and saw a generous amount of each ingredient pretty evenly spaced throughout the crepe.

The combination of flavors was perfect. You could taste each of the ingredients and they blended so well together.  I also liked that the crepe wasn't that oily or greasy, just soft, chewy and delicious!

I would definitely return to the Crepes Truck.  The crepe was tasty and like a French comfort food, and was very affordable ($7 for that huge thing!).  It shouldn't be surprising that I like savory crepes considering how much I loved the pannenkoeken we got in Amsterdam, which is probably the most similar thing to this crepe.  Next time, maybe I'll get a dessert crepe.  Can't wait.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Khmer Sausage Sandwich

I was over in Midtown East today running errands which put me close to Num Pang, the Cambodian sandwich shop with its second location near Grand Central.  I had been there once before when I tried one of their chicken sandwiches, but my office isn't close by so I haven't had a chance to try the rest of the menu yet.

Today I went there intending to get the grilled Spanish mackerel and leeks sandwich, or possibly the peppercorn catfish.  Instead I ended up with a spur-of-the-moment purchase of the grilled Khmer sausage sandwich and, while I bet the fish sandwiches would also have been great, I'm so happy with that choice.

The sandwich - closed and open - with a gorgeous Palau background

The grilled Khmer sausage sandwich comes with the sausage, which is made by Brooklyn Bangers, and Asian slaw, along with the usual accompaniments of cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro and chili mayo.

Closer look at the sandwich

The sandwich was delicious (if you haven't already guessed that from the gushing above).  I loved the flavor of the sausage.  I asked someone when I was there what kind of meat was in the sausage.  They weren't sure, but it was so good that I'm not sure I even care what's in it anymore.  The most interesting thing to me about the sausage was the texture.  I was expecting something dense and with a casing, like kielbasa, but instead it was just ground meat in a loose sausage form.  Kind of like kofta.  I loved the texture of the sausage and felt like it worked so well with the other ingredients - the crunchy and refreshing cucumber, slaw and carrots, the creamy chili mayo, the fragrant cilantro, and the bread which was crispy on the outside but so soft and chewy on the inside.  It was a great sandwich.

Khmer sausage is soft and delicious!

If I worked near Num Pang, I think I would be there all the time, trying out all the sandwiches and sides.  But I think I would always be tempted by the Khmer sausage.  So good.

Malted Marshmallow Milk Chocolate

The Shake Shack Wednesday flavor for April is malted marshmallow milk chocolate.  We had high hopes for this custard and couldn't wait to try it!

It wasn't quite so yellow in person, more of an off-white

M's thoughts:
I was excited for this custard.  I like malted milk balls and I like them in ice cream (I learned this thanks to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck).  Marshmallows and milk chocolate remind me of s'mores, a custard which we think Shake Shack did really well.  Unfortunately, for me, this custard did not live up to the s'mores custard.  The custard itself just tasted like marshmallow sauce and was very sweet.  There were little pieces of chocolate mixed in which were crunchy but they just seemed to be "there" and not really integrated into a "malted marshmallow milk chocolate" flavor. I didn't taste anything that would make me think "malted" either. I thought this was just OK.

A's thoughts:
I was intrigued by this custard when I first heard about it. I love malted milk balls and I thought it might be like that with a hint of marshmallow. It... wasn't. As the name suggests, this was actually malted marshmallow which was really sweet but only sort of malted. I like malt flavoring with desserts, and I wanted more. The milk chocolate came in the form of big chunks. That was okay, but it didn't really mesh well. In the end I was just disappointed.

Malted Marshmallow Milk Chocolate
A's rating: 6/10
M's rating: 6/10

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Orange Rhubarb Meringue

Shake Shack's Monday flavor for April is orange rhubarb meringue.  With only two more chances left to try it, today seemed like a good day for custard (even though the temperature was in the 40s).

The custard looked more pink than orange in person

M's thoughts:
For some reason, when I heard the Monday custard name - orange rhubarb meringue - I was focused more on the rhubarb part and didn't really think about the orange.  If I had, I might not have looked forward to this custard so much since I don't particularly love frozen orange desserts (popsicles, creamsicles and sherbet come to mind).  Perhaps it's because my brain is overwhelmed by other things right now but it didn't even really register the "orange" part until I saw the calendar at Shake Shack where the name sign is colored bright orange.  Anyway, the custard lived up to the orange part with the rhubarb part really only contributing color (it was much more pink in person, so pink that I thought they gave us strawberry by mistake, but it was definitely not strawberry) and the meringue part of the name just being confusing.  The flavor reminded me of a mild orange creamsicle/sherbet scoop.  No surprise that I didn't particularly like it.

A's thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this flavor. When I think of rhubarb based desserts I think more of strawberry pairings. To see it paired with orange and meringue of all things made me very curious as to what this really was all about. I didn't get that much rhubarb flavor, but I may just not know what rhubarb really tastes like. Overall it tasted like an orange creamsicle. That's an okay flavor, but it's not something I normally go out of my way to get.

Orange Rhubarb Meringue
A's rating: 5.5/10
M's rating: 4.5/10

IGK Banh Mi

I went back to IGK to test out their Banh Mi sandwiches since I've tried basically every other Asian dish they serve there. While this wasn't a bad sandwich, it was a little pricey considering its size and extremely pricey when compared to the price vs size for their noodles.

Honey Glazed Pork Banh Mi

The sandwich itself was okay. It's not as packed as the offering from Chicken House, but they add in the traditional pickled radish and carrot slaw, cucumber, and sliced hot chili peppers. You can also add Sriracha sauce if you want additional heat (I did). The bread was a bit odd for a banh mi. It was a baguette like all others, but because it was pre-made they didn't warm/toast the baguette prior to putting the ingredients in. Instead they took the fully loaded sandwich and put it in a panini press. It certainly crisped the outside nicely while keeping a good chewiness, but the bread was compressed a bit too much. I like a little more breadiness for my banh mi. In the end it was a nice offering, but I think if I want to get a banh mi in the future I'll stick with Chicken House. For my Asian noodle needs I will continue patronizing IGK until they tell me I can't come in anymore.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Since we spend so much of our time moving these days, we don't really have much time to spend on cooking.  Lately it's been a lot easier to just order something for pick-up on Seamless and get the order on the way home from work.  Yesterday I decided to try ordering from Carve, a place on 8th Avenue that I always thought was known for sandwiches but apparently also has salads and a big pizza presence, for dinner.

One of the sandwiches was a wrap - the Chicken San Juan - which (according to the menu) contained grilled chicken, cilantro (didn't taste or see any cilantro), red onion, hot pepper (jalapenos), green cabbage and guacamole dressing.

This ended up being the sandwich we liked better.  The grilled chicken was good and not too dry, the onions were plentiful, the guacamole dressing added creaminess, and the jalapeno peppers definitely packed a punch.  It was a refreshing (and somewhat healthy) wrap.

The other sandwich we got was one that really interested me and which I had seen recommended by a few people online - the Fourth of July Picnic sandwich.  The Fourth of July Picnic sandwich contains (according to the menu) 15 spice crispy fried chicken, grilled corn slaw, and bourbon barbeque mayonnaise on a Tom cat baguette.  I thought this would remind me of Certe's Uncle Sammie that I liked (mostly because of the corn slaw in the description), but it didn't quite reach that level for me.

The baguette was good. Sometimes I worry with baguettes that they will be too hard and crusty and make sandwiches difficult to eat, but this bread was good.  The chicken wasn't bad, although I didn't sense the complexity of 15 spices and it tasted really unhealthy because it was fried.  It also seemed like there were fried onions in the sandwiches, which tasted good but are also really unhealthy.  As for the corn slaw that I was looking forward to, it was actually cabbage like a cole slaw and no corn.  I guess the menu just had a typo?  The sandwich wasn't bad but we really preferred the taste of the San Juan.

It was a successful trial at Carve.  The sandwiches weren't extraordinary but they were a solid choice and not too expensive (about $8.50 each).  It's always nice to find another dinner pickup option other than the fast casual standby of Chipotle!

Carve is located at 47th and 8th in Midtown.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Honey Roasted Peanut

After many months of not trying it, we finally got an order of honey roasted peanut custard tonight.

M's thoughts:
This custard tasted like peanuts. More specifically, it reminded me of the peanuts they give out at Chinese restaurants with the salt on them (not the five spice ones). I give the custard credit for doing what it set out to do - taste like peanuts - unlike some of the other custards, but I don't really love peanuts, so I can't give it that high of a rating. Just personal preference.

A's thoughts:
My first bite tasted just like honey roasted peanuts. It was heavy on the peanut flavor, and there was the right mix of saltiness and sweetness of honey. I really liked how it turned out, and as a fan of honey roasted peanuts, this was a well done custard.

Honey Roasted Peanut
A's rating: 7.5/10
M's rating; 6.5/10

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mexico Blvd

I wandered around midtown at lunch, enjoying the 80 degree temperatures and trying to figure out what to do for lunch on such a beautiful day. My wandering took me over to Midtown East and I noticed the Mexico Blvd truck just off Lexington Avenue. I had heard of the truck before but had never tried it. Today seemed like a good day for some Mexican food.

The truck had a lunch special - 2 tacos, 1 small guacamole and chips, and 1 drink - for $10. I debated for awhile between getting a torta and getting tacos, but eventually decided to go with the lunch special.

The truck had a sign saying today's agua fresca was agua de jamaica (hibiscus iced tea). I'm a fan of hibiscus iced tea, so this was an easy choice. It was refreshing and sweet, perfect for the walk back on such a hot day.

The guacamole and chips were good and a nice size (considering it was a small).

The chips were crisp and fresh, and coated in chili pepper and lime to give them a bit of a kick. In contrast, the guacamole was cool and full of lime and cilantro flavors. It was a smooth guacamole without much else (e.g., tomatoes, onions) mixed in, but it worked really well with the chips. I liked this and it was about the same size as the overpriced one I got last week from Baja Fresh (which also wasn't as good as this one).

There are 4 options for tacos at the Mexico Blvd truck - adobo (pork loin), pastor (pork tenderloin in chili sauce), bistec (steak in drunken sauce) and tinga (shredded chicken) - all of which are made Mexico City style (according to the menu). I went with their recommendation and got the pastor and the tinga.

I tried the pastor (pork tenderloin marinated in three chiles sauce, served with cilantro, onion and pineapple), which was topped with salsa verde, first.

The taco was delicious. The meat was relatively tender and not overdone. The heat of the sauce came through and mixed really well with the other ingredients.

The chicken tinga consisted of shredded chicken in a tomato and chipotle sauce, also topped with onion, cilantro and salsa verde.

This taco was also really good. The chicken had a smoky flavor and I liked the shredded texture instead of cubes of grilled chicken. Just like the pastor, I would definitely get this again.

Amazingly, the tortillas (which were doubled up) held up during the entire walk back (not a short one) and didn't break at all while I was eating. I was impressed. The deliciousness of the tacos made me forget that I had been craving banh mi all morning and I was in a state of taco-induced happiness for hours. I will definitely be returning to Mexico Blvd for some more tacos!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Biryani Cart

I've been to the Biryani Cart a number of times, including sampling everything at the Vendy's and last year's visit for kati rolls. The cart is one of the closest places to my office, if you don't count the Cafe Europa I visited way too often in the early years of my career.

As the first place on the block for my current block by block challenge, I thought I should order what I would get if I were a Biryani Cart newbie and wanted to try the most at once - their triple combo named after Midtown Lunch founder Zach.

The combo consisted of chicken biryani, a potato samosa, and a kati roll. I guess sometimes they ask you which one you want but they just gave me one. I'm not sure if it's the Pune or the King Koti. All of that cost only $7.

I decided to try the samosa first and then alternated between the kati roll and the biryani.

Clockwise from top left: samosa; potatoes inside the samosa; biryani under white sauce, red sauce and green sauce; kati roll

The samosa was filled with potatoes but unfortunately I found this very dry. The outer shell which was covered in sauce was full of flavor from the sauce but the inside of the samosa wasn't that impressive. I was glad that I tried this as part of the combo instead of paying for an order of samosas on their own.

The biryani was also OK. I think on previous visits it was much spicier than this time, which actually edged closer to bland when not covered in sauce. The chicken for the most part was prepared well and tender, but the rice in the biryani was just OK. I have long preferred the biryani at Trini Paki Boys, finding it more heavily spiced and less greasy, and I don't think that opinion has changed. This time the biryani here was not as oily or greasy as it has been on past visits but I still prefer the spice mix over at Trini Paki Boys.

Last, the kati roll. I really enjoyed the kati rolls on my last visit and this time was no different. Eating the first bite of kati roll after the samosa and then trying the biryani after that really highlighted just how much more flavor there was in the kati roll. It was full of chicken and some vegetables, the chapati had just the right amount of chewiness, and the flavors of all the ingredients shone through in the roll. This was the best part of the combo for me and I made sure it was the last bite I had.

I'm glad I tried the combo. I think it's a good choice for someone who hasn't been to the Biryani Cart before (and perhaps you might prefer their style of biryani more) or someone who might have a favorite dish but hasn't tried other items. As for me, I think I'm going to stick to the kati rolls or the chapli kebab (which I had at the Vendys but have not been able to get at the cart since then) from now on.

Biryani Cart is located on the southwest corner of 46th and 6th.

Disappointment in Baja

Baja Fresh, I've always been a big fan. I loved how your menu was large and had lots of choices. I loved mixing and matching tacos. I loved that every order came with free chips and salsa (and unlimited salsa if you ate there). I loved that if I ordered delivery at work, I could get small tubs of pico de gallo for cheap because it would mean eating something healthy. But tonight I was really disappointed.

I got an assortment of items and started with a chicken taco baja style (onions and cilantro topping) ($3).

The taco was fine. The chicken was a little dry and it wasn't as flavorful as some of the tacos I've gotten there in the past, but it wasn't bad.

I ordered sides of guacamole ($3) and pico de gallo ($2). I didn't get the side orders with the chips, so I thought it would be just the two small sides with the bag of free chips that comes with the regular order. Strangely, I got a small bag of free chips plus a giant bag full of more chips.

Next to all those chips, the containers of pico de gallo and guacamole looked really tiny.

I was confused because I remembered that the last time I ordered salsas from the side order menu, I got containers that were at least twice as large. I went back and found proof (who says there's no value to photographing all your meals, even the ordinary ones?), so my memory was not wrong.

Last year's guacamole size

The guacamole container then was so much larger. In tonight's order, the small salsa container (the brown one) that comes complimentary with the free chips is only slightly smaller than the side orders. The last time I ordered it like this, both of the free salsa containers could fit inside the guacamole container. I couldn't believe that little container of guacamole cost $3. I think it's smaller than the Chipotle side of guacamole (which, by the way, was what I was really craving tonight but could not get since they're not on Seamless), and that one is cheaper, and has more red onions and cilantro. This version was just avocado and tomato and kind of boring.

Last, I got the skinny chicken bowl ($8.50). I had tried the "fully loaded" chicken bowl one day for lunch but decided to try to be healthy this time.

The skinny chicken bowl, according to the menu description, has achiote marinated fire-grilled chicken (good that it was grilled chicken, nice marinade, but overdone and dry), black beans (thank goodness these were watery to offset the dry chicken), green chili tomatillo rice (good), and topped with calabasitas squash (very juicy), achiote onions (also good) and new tomatillo salsa fresca (similar to the pico de gallo). Generally, the bowl was good but the weakest part was the chicken (not for the flavor, but because of how dry it was). Maybe the fully loaded was better because the cheese kept the chicken from feeling so dry.

I think Baja Fresh still beats Chipotle for menu variety, but right now (and I can comfortably say this, as I have been to Chipotle a lot recently), Chipotle wins hands-down for flavor. I still have a craving for Chipotle guacamole. Maybe next time I go there I'll get a veggie bowl to fulfill my craving.

Fromage Blanc Raspberry Swirl

The Thursday custard this month is fromage blanc raspberry swirl. We think we tried this one before, but since we never blogged about it, we decided to try it again.

M's thoughts:
The first spoonful of this had a strong cheesecake-type flavor. It was like a cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Like most of the Shake Shack custards, this one had a milder flavor after the first bite, so after that, I mostly tasted the raspberry sauce which was swirled in throughout the custard. It was nice and sweet and since I like raspberry sauce, I liked the custard.

A's thoughts:
This tasted like a nice cheesecake with a raspberry syrup mixed in. As I like cheesecake, I liked this custard. It was simple and to the point. If you like cheesecake, and more specifically raspberry cheesecake, you'll most likely like this custard.

Fromage Blanc Raspberry Swirl
A's rating: 8/10
M's rating: 8/10

Thursday, April 12, 2012


When I go to Karam II for lunch, I usually pick up the 3 item small vegetable combo, which comes with a side of pita, for a tasty and healthy meal. When I order at work for dinner, I often get the chicken taouk (grilled chicken cubes in a pita sandwich) or sometimes the vegetable salad combo and maybe samboussek on the side. We discovered last night that Karam actually delivers all the way to our apartment and in honor of trying that out for the first time, I got something different - the shawafel sandwich.

The shawafel sandwich... I can't stop saying shawafel

The shawafel sandwich contains falafel and shawarma (choice of chicken or meat - I went with chicken). It was a really tasty sandwich. The soft falafel mixed well with the small pieces of shawarma and the grilled pita. It wasn't the best falafel I've had (I wish Taim still came to midtown...) but it was good. The chicken shawarma was nicely flavored. Also, unlike some other pita sandwiches, this one had all the ingredients evenly spaced throughout, which meant every bite was full of shawafel-ly goodness. I would order this again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cosi Sampler

I'm not usually a fan of our catered sandwich and salad lunches at work, but this week we had one that was different - catering from Cosi! I don't go to Cosi that often (finding it sometimes light on toppings/fillings for the price), so I was interested in trying some new options for "free."

They had a box of flatbread pieces and a giant bowl of salad, which I identified from the online menu as the Bombay chicken salad. I think I got this on one of my previous Cosi visits but had found that the salad that time was mostly lettuce which was disappointing.

The Bombay chicken salad consists of greens, red peppers (but I don't remember seeing those), tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and Tandoori chicken. They gave us two dressing options - a peppercorn ranch dressing and a sweet vinaigrette that reminded me of a chutney. The good thing about getting a catered salad is that it's one giant bowl of salad and you can choose how much of each item you want to take. This meant I didn't end up with a salad of mostly lettuce. It's the same chicken as the Tandoori chicken sandwich we got at Cosi last weekend, but I thought the chicken worked better here with the greens and other vegetables. With a balanced amount of each ingredient that I chose, this salad was pretty good and fairly healthy (since I got the non-ranch dressing).

The catering package also included boxes with an assortment of sandwiches. Unfortunately the sandwiches weren't labeled so I guessed and picked two halves, which ended up being the Chicken T.B.M. and the Tuscan Pesto Chicken, both of which were new to me.

Tuscan Pesto Chicken on top, Chicken T.B.M. on the bottom

The Chicken T.B.M. is a flatbread with grilled chicken, tomato, basil, mozzarella and vinaigrette. I thought initially from the look of it that what I got was the Chicken T.B.M. but my first bite tasted so much like honey mustard that I thought I was wrong. It was interesting having the mustard flavor in one half and the caprese flavors on the other half based on how the sandwich was arranged. The Tuscan Pesto Chicken has pesto chicken (obviously), shredded romaine and a sundried tomato spread. I saw the pesto when choosing and guessed that it was the pesto chicken sandwich, but the sundried tomato spread was a surprise, which (just like the T.B.M.) had me thinking I guessed wrong on the identity of the sandwich. The tomato spread took this from being an ordinary pesto chicken sandwich to something unique and different. Between the 2, I liked the Tuscan Pesto Chicken more. Usually I'm wary of sandwiches that are so heavily filled with lettuce, but this sandwich was light and tasty.

Another nice thing about the catering package was that everyone got a small bag of chips or carrots. The carrots made for a good healthy snack for later in the day and I appreciated that it was part of our meal.

I think I would get the Tuscan Pesto Chicken sandwich on my next visit (unless they have a seasonal special like the holiday sandwich I got last fall), although I'd probably go for the whole grain flatbread which wasn't an option this time. This is a sandwich-catered lunch option I can definitely get behind.

Bobby Van's Grill

Earlier this week I went for a work lunch to Bobby Van's Grill, one of the many Bobby Van's outposts around the city. Bobby Van's is a steakhouse, but, since I don't eat steak, I usually go for fish when visiting steakhouses. I was prepared to get a salad or a basic salmon dish when I saw on the lunch specials a fried flounder sandwich. I decided to go for that instead and substituted a salad for the fries.

Is it just me or are the onions arranged to look like a face with giant googly eyes?

The flounder sandwich was OK. It was much better in every way than the Filet-o-Fish from McDonalds that I got later that night (and no, I didn't realize I had a fried fish sandwich for both meals until later that night), but it wasn't amazing. The fish was nicely seasoned, it wasn't dry, it was well put together, but it just didn't blow me away. I think I would probably choose the one from Kim's Aunt Kitchen over this one, and that's about a third of the price. The salad was nice and refreshing in a vinaigrette dressing and I was very happy with my choice to substitute and avoid useless fries.

Any recommendations for Bobby Van's at lunch in case I should find myself there again?

This Bobby Van's location is on West 45th Street between 6th Ave and Times Square.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicken McBites

I was looking for a quick dinner to pick up tonight while we cleaned our new apartment and it ended up being McDonalds. We've been to Chipotle a lot lately, Peter's seemed heavy, Maoz was too difficult to do on my own with the toppings, A had pizza for lunch, Shake Shack had too long of a line, etc. I decided to get the buy one get one Filet-o-Fish again as well as the new limited time Chicken McBites to see how they compared to our usual choice for popcorn chicken from Perdue.

I got the shareable size, which is the largest of the McBites sizes. Add a few pieces to the picture above and that's how full the container was (since I ate a few on the way home). We got two sauces - tangy BBQ and honey mustard.

Verdict on the McBites? They were just OK. I still prefer our Perdue popcorn chicken pieces. They're bigger than the McBites but that also means they taste more like chicken (and are actually made of chicken) instead of just fried... stuff. The last bag of Perdue popcorn chicken we got was also more seasoned than all the rest, and more seasoned than these McBites. The other problem with the McBites being small bites of fried stuff is that they were hard to dip because they were so tiny.

I like popcorn chicken (and shrimp), but I don't think I would get the McBites again. Considering the Filet-o-Fish still isn't living up to my memory of it, and the McBites are not all that great, it seems like the only thing at McDonalds that I currently like (and that doesn't make me feel polluted inside afterwards, like I do right now) is the sausage biscuit. The rest just feels kind of boring and uninspired. I don't understand how tourists travel to NYC from all over the country and eat at McDonalds. (I get the international tourists who want to see how it compares since we do similar things abroad.) The menu is the same, the food is the same, and there are just so many options that would be quick and better for a vacation here. I think I'm done going to McDonalds for awhile.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Yesterday we found ourselves in Nolita, so we decided to use our Gilt City voucher for AsiaDog ($5 for $10), a small shop which serves hot dogs with Asian toppings. We had tried their hot dogs once at a food fair a couple of years ago, but this was our first time at the brick and mortar store.

We decided to go with one of their special offers: 2 hot dogs and 1 side for $10.

The first hot dog we tried was the Vinh, which we got with a chicken dog.

The Vinh was a hot dog served banh mi style (with pate, spicy aioli, cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon, jalapeno and cilantro). We didn't really notice any pate in the hot dog, but the rest of the toppings definitely made it feel like we were eating a banh mi sandwich in hot dog form. We both liked this hot dog better out of the 2 we tried (and for A, especially after he added sriracha sauce). The pairing of banh mi toppings with a hot dog worked very well.

The other hot dog we tried was the Wangding, which we got with an organic beef dog.

The Wangding is topped with Chinese BBQ pork belly, cucumbers and scallions. The pork belly stew also appeared to have some onions and it was a nice sweet sauce. I'm not a huge fan of pork belly but I did think the stew had a nice flavor. A thought the stew would be better over some rice or noodles, something that could soak up its flavor and richness, instead of on top of a hot dog which had its own flavor and saltiness. While this was good, we thought the pairing was better banh mi style.

For our side, we got the wasabi potato salad:

The potato salad had a lot of crunchy celery and mustard seeds, and its zesty and tart flavor was really tasty. The wasabi wasn't overpowering but added some great flavor. I could have eaten a big bowl of this for lunch and had been satisfied. We really, really liked this side.

We would definitely be interested in trying more hot dogs at AsiaDog if we were down in Nolita again or ran across them at a food fair. They're a little on the expensive side for hot dogs (although on par with Crif Dogs and Japadog) but the toppings make them unique.

AsiaDog is located at 66 Kenmare Street (between Mott and Mulberry) in Nolita.

April Custard Calendar

The April custard calendar is up!


A preview of the April custards:

Monday - orange rhubarb meringue - new (to us) and intriguing.

Tuesday - honey roasted peanut - this was on the calendar back in January. We didn't try it then but maybe we will this time.

Wednesday - malted marshmallow milk chocolate - also new (to us) and also intriguing.

Thursday - fromage blanc raspberry swirl - I think we tried this one before but it doesn't look like we ever wrote about it (and I can't remember if it was any good).

Friday - red velvet - we wrote about this one back in January here. We had mixed feelings about it but didn't hate it.

Saturday - boston cream pie - we need to get better about blogging to remember if we've had these custards before. A remembers trying this but I don't. A really likes boston cream pie donuts so maybe we'll give this custard a try this month.

Sunday - strawberry blonde - another one that I think we've had before but we didn't write about it and I can't even remember what it tastes like. Must. Blog. More. Consistently.

A and I are both most intrigued by orange rhubarb meringue. Can't wait until Monday!

Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza

I love corned beef and cabbage. Every year around St. Patrick's Day I start looking forward to the salty, cured meat boiled with cabbages, potatoes, and carrots. It's such a beautiful thing. When I heard from M that there was a corned beef and cabbage pizza at Pizza by Certe I knew I had to try it.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Slice

Corned beef with slivers of cabbage on top of a sauceless pizza is what this ended up being. I was a little underwhelmed as the corned beef was dry and not very flavorful. The cabbage was so thinly slivered that it made it virtually non-existent. Overall I was disappointed. Maybe had we gone earlier in the day it would have been better since it would have been fresher, but, alas, we'll never know (until maybe next year if they have it again).

March Custard Recap

We tried all of the March custards at Shake Shack! Miss a review?

Wednesday - s'mores
Sunday - fluffernutter

A's favorite this month was salty chocolate peanut butter and mine was s'mores. Excited to see what April brings!

Mint Chocolate Chip

Last day of March, last custard to try to finish the March circuit!

M's thoughts:
I liked this custard. I was a big fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream as a kid so I hoped this would be good. It had good flavors and, even though you can't see it, there were chocolate chips mixed into the custard which gave it a nice hard crunch in parts. I would have rated this more highly but I guess I just don't like mint chocolate chip as much as I did before.

A's thoughts:
Growing up, mint chocolate chip was always one of my favorite ice cream flavors. I thought we had tried this flavor before, and we very well may have, but neither of us could remember it. So held within this neon green concoction was a subtle mint flavor and big chocolate chips. The chocolate chips had a nice hard texture to go with the creamy, minty custard. It tasted great, and it was nice to have a straight forward flavor work so well.

Mint Chocolate Chip
A's rating: 8/10
M's rating: 8/10